Progressive Muscle Relaxation

PMR Jacobsen

I wrote about relaxation techniques like Visualisation – Relaxation and IRT –
Instant Relaxation Technique. Two very different and powerful tools, and techniques I personally find less daunting and ‘scary’ than meditation.
Today, let`s have a look into the Progressive Muscle Relaxation by Edmund Jacobsen. He developed this technique back in the 1920. It is a technique that guides to control and monitor the muscular tension in the whole body through contracting and relaxing the muscles. It helps to relax, clear thoughts and release tension. The IRT goes into the same direction, but the PMR takes you even deeper.
Before you get started please be aware and just go with the relaxation, don’t pressure yourself. As with everything new it may take some time to get used to the steps and to feel and experience the sensation of tension release.

Ideally you schedule 15-20min to complete relaxation. If you are short on time please refer to the IRT.

For deeper relaxation set the ‘mood’, find a room without disturbances, put the light on low or light some candles, if you have you may as well put on some aromatherapy lamps, soft music in the background.
I prefer to experience this deep relaxation lying down, but sitting comfortably in a chair is ok, too.

Relax your body, deepen and relax your breathing.

It is important to not rush through this technique, take it slow and step by step. Take a short break before you go into the next contraction/relaxation zone. Allow yourself to feel the sensation in each area.
As mentioned, ideally this relaxation should take 15-20min.
By time you may notice where you feel more tension and you can focus on those areas and take an extra round with those muscles.

If you can, ask a friend or family member to read the the relaxation technique to you in a soft gentle tone.

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Gently breathe in – hold – and let go.

Now bring your awareness to your feet.

Gently pull your toes up towards your knees – hold briefly – and let go. Recognise the difference and let your breath flow evenly for a few seconds.

Press your heels into the floor – hold – and let go. Pause and breathe.

Now bring your awareness to your knees, pull your knees together – press them together – and now let them drift apart a little. Be aware of the new position, relax.

Squeeze your buttocks together, squeeze tight – hold – and let go.

Feel how your legs and buttocks are relaxed without any tension, kind of heavy. Give in to this sensation.

Now bring your attention to your belly. Gently pull the tummy muscles towards your spine – hold briefly – now let go with a deep breath. Feel the difference.

Go up to your shoulders, gently pull them up towards your ears, high enough to recognise the tension – hold briefly – and let go. Recognise the new position. Feel the sensation.

Press your elbows and upper arms firmly to the sides of your body – press firmly and hold for a moment – now let go. Breathe.

Now your hands – make a fist, clench it tight – hold – and let go, open the hands and spread the fingers. Place them gently on the floor or on your lap.

Take a pause and breathe. Feel the sensation in your body, how your legs, your spine, your upper body feels nice and relaxed.

Now we go up towards the head.

Push your head down gently, chin towards the chest feel slight tension in the back of your neck – hold briefly – now let your head go back to a balanced position. Let go and breathe.

Grit your teeth together – hold briefly – now let your jaw sag slightly. Feel the difference.

Lips – press together – now let go until hardly touching. Purse your lips – now let go and relax the mouth.

In a next step press your tongue briefly to the roof of your mouth – hold – and let it drop loosely. Feel the new position. If you want open your mouth slightly.

Eyes squeeze them tight– hold – and let go. Feel the relaxation around your eyes.

Lastly, pay attention to your forehead – frown and squeeze the forehead – hold and now let go. Feel the sensation on your forehead.

Now spend a few moments enjoying the feeling of release, releasing a little more with each relaxed exhalation. Feel the sensation of surrender.

When you are ready, slowly allow yourself to come back, become aware of your breathing, feel the sensation of your body lying on the floor or bed or sitting on a chair. Take a deep breath and slowly open your eyes. Stretch gently if you feel for it.

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If you find it uncomfortable to have somebody reading it to you you can as well check for some online sources to listen to. I personally do like the one I attach below. Please note that unlike above, this relaxation starts from the head towards the toes. But either way, with practise both ways should let you feel relaxed yet focused and strong and ‘at ease’.

Once you are comfortable, you can as well guide yourself through this relaxation, pay attention to each muscle group from toes to the forehead and give tension to each of them and release. You may find as well different scripts of Progressive Muscle Relaxation in the internet, some go deeper into the muscle groups, feel free to explore!

Have fun experiencing this state of deep relaxation!

Take care

AK

 

 

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